Growing “old” gracefully
“What’s that box on the counter?” my husband asked me.
I said, “It’s some products I ordered from So-and-so’s company — remember, I told you I was going to.”
So-and-so was a co-host for an awesome cookout we attended two weekends ago. That particular weekend I went to two cookouts and saw some old friends, and also made six or seven new connections that I really enjoyed. (Two, though interesting to talk to, reminded me why I don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes anymore.)
My husband did indeed remember that I was going to order some products and he asked me why I worry so much about my appearance. “Why can’t you just accept that you’re a beautiful middle-aged woman…”
God bless him. I used to wonder why he didn’t say anything when I had just got my hair done or put makeup on, then I reminded myself, if he doesn’t notice that, he’s not going to notice that spare tire around my waistline. I said, ” I don’t think being 30 pounds overweight is beautiful.”
He tried to brush that off. “You’re not 30 pounds overweight!”
I replied, “Maybe not anymore, but I gained 30 pounds since we met.” (And I suspect it was closer to 40, but couldn’t bring myself to say that out loud. I couldn’t even bring myself to get on the scale until I was a week and a half or more into the new regime of no coffee, no sugar, no lots of things that I sometimes miss but I’m on a mission!) “How can you not notice that?”
“Because I care more about what’s on the inside.”
God bless him.
While I do, for one, care about my outsides — I had a friend tell me once, “You look pretty good for having three kids.” At that time, I just wanted to look “pretty good” with no caveats — my insides are what really got me moving in a healthier direction.
I told my husband, “I don’t want to be at all overweight. I do not want to have abdominal fat suffocating my internal organs, causing my stomach to bulge out like a beer belly. It’s bad for your health. Is it a given that when people reach middle age they give up and become overweight? No, I don’t think so. Look at the three women at our table at the wedding last weekend. Look at So-and-so — she has FIVE kids and she’s extremely slender. She’s willowy.”
He tried to tell me she’d always been a twig. I told him I was a “twig” until I had kids (which was before I met him). I quit smoking the day I suspected I was pregnant with my first child, and thus began the double-whammy of weight gain.
I continued, “I DO NOT want to end up with diabetes. It’s preventable. If I develop diabetes it’s no one’s fault but mine. The bulging waistline is an indicator of someone who is prone to develop diabetes. It’s called diabesity. I do not want to have to give myself shots — giving them to the cat every morning is plenty. I do not want to end up like your mom (she’s diabetic). Nothing against her but I don’t want to be testing my blood sugar all day and worrying about insulin shots. If I can avoid it, why shouldn’t I avoid it?”
I was on a bit of a tirade, I guess.
Perhaps I’m a bit of a downer in some ways because I no longer eat popsicles at night and am not excited about going to Dunks, two activities that we shared in the past. At least now we are sharing smoothies, although my husband’s are more like protein milkshakes as opposed to the “green” smoothies that I make for myself.
When I realized what I needed to do (eliminate sugar and coffee and cut back on dairy, most animal products, and most grains), I felt kind of mad at two of my doctors who said, “eat less and exercise more” and “you look fine — there’s nothing wrong with you.” (How could there be nothing medically wrong with a 27 pound weight gain over two and a half years, which is what I only just realized when I logged onto the new patient portal after my recent medical procedure, because the last time I weighed at a doctor’s office a year ago I got on the scale facing away from the numbers because I couldn’t bear to look?)
I was convinced for three years that I had a thyroid problem and imagined I had a host of other problems, which is why I had a whole kitchen cabinet full of supplements.
What a relief to find out that growing older doesn’t necessarily mean growing bigger.